W.J. Andriot’s modernization masters stock shelves with everything homeowners need to turn retro rooms into cutting-edge castles. They also gladly take time to fill heads with how-to information. Enliven a board-game bunker with a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Ben Eggshell paint ($35.99/gal.), offered in a multitude of colors, or refresh a deck with a coat of Duckback Superdeck ($38.99/gal.). Circus families can practice tap routines on eye-pleasing hardwood ($2.99+/ft.) or catch baby’s first backflip on soft carpets ($1.22+/ft.). W.J. Andriot’s also offers reprieve from the sun’s cloying advances with 2-inch faux-wood mini blinds ($65 for 36”x72”) and sets of plantation shutters ($24/sq. ft.).
With a variegated arsenal of fabrics disbursed by the yard, Making Ends Meet boasts three floors worth of woven offerings and pigmented patterns. Intrepid quilting-square seekers can pick up textiles crafted from everything from cotton to silk. Outdoor fabrics such as Duralee Fabric Sealife ($14 / yd.) blanket patio pillows or yacht-top furniture in a colorful oceanic motif, while Robert Allen Floral Branches ($19 / yd.) adds a delicate, silky touch to living rooms, kitchens, or pampered hamster habitats. The shop's militia of seam-happy staffers helps burgeoning upholsterers find the perfect fabric or handmade decorative tassel ($25–$37.50) to suit any couch cover or flea-circus tent.
Main Street Bikes serves as point of connection for first time and experienced bikers. Customers amble through an exhaustive collection of new and used road cycles from Raleigh, BH, Fuji, and Campagnolo or load up on accessories such as racks, saddle bags, tires, and race clothing. In the shop, a percussive chorus of tools fills the air as mechanics true wheels, install new parts, and pull brake lines tight. The crew also prepares cyclist for upcoming road races with a program of training workouts and hot tips about which rider is actually a Corvette covered by a tarp.
The aisles of Mark's Hallmark come lined with classic Hallmark giftware for a variety of occasions. Instead of leaving voicemails of heavy breathing punctuated by screams, ready friends and family members for Halloween by gifting them with 9-inch themed plates accented with a personal photo and text ($12 for a package of 10). Or, help guests plan their costumes in advance by sending early party invitations, such as the Spooky Silhouette ($1.59 for one, $0.99 for up to 1,000). Meanwhile, a wide selection of greeting cards (including an array of $0.99 cards) come with envelopes to protect heartfelt poems from being edited by persnickety mailmen. In addition, gift gurus can fill empty spaces in the home with coffee mugs, candles, snow globes, and tote bags.
Merle Norman encourages patrons to try samples of its sundry age-spurning skincare products and cosmetics before buying, and its well-practiced beauty wranglers will help customers determine their signature look with free makeovers. The summer collection of eyeliners, blushes, and lipsticks preps visages for a season of fashionable sun-drenching and unfashionable popsicle explosions. Otherwise, iron out the brow-furrows from extended monocle wear with wrinkle smoother ($49.95), or send crow’s feet scampering with wrinkle smoother for eyes ($28.95). Skin cleansers ($19.95) clear flesh-canvases of acne, blemishes, and obscene graffiti, and toners ($16.95) hydrate parched cheeks and arid chinlands.